Having worked on a college campus for 30 years, I have long been attuned to the impact of rising expectations in other areas of life. When Amazon creates an easily searchable, fully mobile website, then students think that everyone’s website is of that caliber. If Chipotle allows you to customize your burrito, then the campus dining hall should have the same capability. If the local high school gives every student a new computer or is equipped with a state-of-the-art science lab, well, then, colleges should be even more technologically advanced. And if there are caps and gowns for kindergarten “graduation”, what does it take to elevate a college commencement to the prominence it deserves?
The bar was raised even higher by Sports Illustrated, which, in a move of genius, created SI Play, a platform that allows any team – from pee wee to high schools – to create their own mobile app – for free. SI Play is a platform for anyone involved in youth sports to share scores, photos and team information. It also tracks practices, travel locations, attendance and even scouting reports. SI Play launched in 2015, but already has 17 million users and has spurred a separate tournament management app and a third for live score sharing (not to mention a treasure trove of content for SI and SIKids!)
Think about it: if there is a professional app and multi-level functionality for the T-ball club, what does it do to raise expectations for your organization? The field isn’t leveled against your competition or others in your industry. You’re playing ball against all stars and, like it or not, things like SI Play should force you to up your game — even if that game has nothing to do with youth sports.